Empowering Female Teachers to Lead Africa’s Digital Revolution

ACW’s Women Empowerment Program - Empowering Female Teachers to Lead Africa's Digital Revolution

Back by popular demand, Semester 2 of Africa Code Week's Women Empowerment Program (WEP) officially kicked off this October. This Continuing Professional Development (CPD) program equips African female teachers and educators in Computer Science and STEM with the skills and knowledge they need to successfully teach, inspire, mentor, and prepare girls for tomorrow’s tech workplace. The WEP thereby supports ACW’s ambitious plans to transform the continent’s education system by including digital literacy in national curricula – in line with the work of UN SDGs 4, 5 and 17.

 

Female teachers’ role has never been greater.

Research suggests that female teachers increase girls’ test scores and their likelihood of staying in school. Beyond academics, female teachers can also heighten girls’ aspirations and lower their likelihood of being subject to violence. The WEP was first launched in 2019 by SAP, UNESCO, Irish Aid, the Moroccan Ministry of National Education, and Camden education as a joint response to bridge the digital gender gap and related pressing issues across Africa. The program actively supports female teachers on their leadership and mentoring journey while providing a safe learning platform for them to explore current barriers to girls’ education. They also develop innovative ideas to overcome these barriers, honing a wide array of tools and skills along the way - from Design Thinking and storytelling all the way to animation and digital tools.

Taking place over six weeks with live interpretation in English and French, the ACW WEP workshops also involve global advocates for girls,  policymakers, scholars, pedagogues, and change-makers from organizations such as SAP, UNESCO, DCU, Global Partnership for Education, Innovation Academy and many more. These expert speakers unpack multiple ways to transform learning through virtual and digital tools. Two weeks ago, the program welcomed Vanessa Sinden, an award-winning film producer from the Cape Town based Triggerfish animation studios, for one inspiring ‘Storytelling and animation in the classroom workshop.

 

Innovation in Education : tackling Africa's unemployment challenges

Recent studies also show that animation strengthens learning and makes the teaching–learning process fun. Educating students through moving motion pictures and drawings can significantly enhance their performance, reducing failure and other challenges such as the high dropout rate. The introduction of animation in learning could also trigger interest and passion for animation early in a pupil’s life, stimulating it as a viable career opportunity across Africa. As a result, this could potentially curb the continent’s high unemployment rate, with the African animation market growing by around 7% during 2015-2020 and is expected to boom post the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

WEP 2022 Semester 2 participants presented their team projects on Girls' Health Education and well-being supporting SDGs 3, 4 & 5at the November 10th graduation ceremony,  in front of the WEP Alumnae and a high-level panel with:

  • Claire Gillissen-Duval, CSR EMEA Senior Director and Co-founder of ACW at SAP.
  • Ilham Laaziz, GENIE Program Director, Ministry of National Education, Morocco.
  • Carol Hannon, Development Specialist, Department of Foreign Affairs, Ireland.
  • Jackline Oluoch-Aridi Director of the Nairobi Global Centre, Notre Dame International, University of Notre Dame.

After graduation, the WEP journey continues as each participant is invited to grow further through a structured leadership and upskilling pathway, from first-time participant all the way to program co-moderator. With over 450 alumnae from 40 countries, the WEP continues to strengthen and support ACW’s mission of reaching all corners of Africa, ensuring that no child is left behind in the digital era.

To learn more about Africa Code Week and the Women Empowerment Program, visit www.africacodeweek.org or read WEP’s latest news on LinkedIn.

Five Minutes with ACW Patron, Albert Nsengiyumva

 Albert Nsengiyumva from the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) shares his thoughts on the past two years of Africa Code Week and the role digital skills play in preparing African youth for the future

 

 

What do you love about Africa Code Week?

I love how the program is free to learners and teachers across Africa and that it offers them an opportunity to enhance their digital skills. Coding and computational thinking are so important for Africa’s youth. Without them, young people won’t be ready for the jobs of the future in which humans will work alongside machines through artificial intelligence. One of the other things I love about Africa Code Week is its focus improving digital education for girls.

What role does ADEA play?

The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) partnered with Africa Code Week in 2020, joining UNESCO and Irish Aid to provide the expertise and government relations. As the Executive Secretary of ADEA and official ACW Patron, I see our role as fighting for quality, inclusive education in Africa that is relevant to the needs of business and industry in the 21st century.

How is Africa Code Week helping prepare children across the continent for the future?

Because Africa has the youngest population in the world, it’s important that we give African youth a ladder to climb their way out of poverty. In my view, this can only be done through education and through events like Africa Code Week which provide young people with valuable coding skills. Coding is a language and if young people are fluent in it, they will be better prepared for the digital world.

In what ways has Africa Code Week had to adapt due to the impact of COVID-19?


In 2020, Africa Code Week pivoted from in-person events to holding most events online. Surprisingly, these virtual events had a much greater reach and were able to be enjoyed by students and teachers in many more African countries. For instance, in 2020 we successfully reached 1.5 million youth, of which nearly half were girls. Over 10,500 workshops were held across 43 countries and 21,000 teachers participated in Train-the-Trainer sessions. This is a real accomplishment and something to be proud of.


Looking ahead, what are your plans for Africa Code Week?

Our goals remain the same: to empower young Africans with digital literacy skills. How we do it may change, as evidenced by the evolution to virtual training sessions due to the global pandemic and the launch of the smartphone app in 2020. What I would really like to see are more African governments pledging to offer coding as part of their national school curriculum. So far, through the efforts of Africa Code Week, nine countries have already done so. I’d like to see a whole lot more!

 

Albert Nsengiyumva is the Executive Secretary of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa, one of the key partners for Africa Code Week, along with SAP, UNESCO, and Irish Aid. 

Meet our AfriCAN Code Challenge 2021 winners

Returning for the second year, the Africa Code Week AfriCAN Code Challenge presents their top 10 winners with Devansh and Darshika from Mauritius as the Pan-African competition winners!

 

An annual celebration of coding throughout Africa

The AfriCAN Code Challenge is a pan-African coding competition where youth aged 8 - 16 were tasked with coding a game using the Scratch programming language to address the theme that was determined by the Africa Code Week team. This competition was launched by SAP Africa Code Week and partners UNESCO, Irish Aid and the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) in September 2020, and since then has become an annual celebration of youth and innovation in Africa.

The rationale for chosing this year’s superheroe theme was to allow children to unleash their creativity and express themselves freely on issues they feel are important to them. Davide Storti, Coordinator of the YouthMobile Initiative at UNESCO, says: “The post-pandemic education recovery starts with allowing our children to regain confidence and hope, and with us adults reopening spaces, although virtual, for them to access their fullest potential."

To take part in the AfriCAN Code Challenge, youth were able to enter alone or in teams of up to five people, and entries featured a three-minute YouTube video showcasing how their game works and why it should be considered a winning entry. The unique initiative and entry mechanism called upon the children’s ability to design a project that would solve a community-issue, code it, and communicate it.

 

The winners of the AfriCAN Code Challenge 2021

During the opening rounds of the challenge, participation reached across 40 countries and featured 102 project video clips, only the top three entries from 36 countries made it into the continental final, followed by 20 countries in the final judging stage.

Selected by a high-level jury comprising key Africa Code Week delegates and STEM education experts, the top three winners of the AfriCAN Code Challenge are:

The top 3

First place: Mauritius – Super Recyclers, by Devansh and Darshika
Second place: Nigeria – The Carbon Man, by SUPER GAMERS
Third place: Ethiopia – Kids Academy, by Natnael Kedir

 

Followed by:

4: Niger - Rayuwa
5: Sao Tome & Principe - Helper intrigue
6: Tunisia - Le toucher du bonheur
7: Capo Verde - Change the World with US
8: Morocco – Super hero
9: Seychelles - The Prodigies
10: Madagascar - Pensons civisme

 

The 2021 edition of the AfriCAN Code Challenge was quite unique, as for the first time, hearing-impaired students participated in the competition proving once again that coding is the language of inclusivity and creativity.

Irish Minister of State for overseas development aid and diaspora Colm Brophy T.D, who attended the Rwanda AfriCAN Code Challenge national awards ceremony says, “Africa Code Week unlocks the potential in young people who otherwise may not have considered building their digital skills”

Claire Gillissen-Duval, Director of EMEA Corporate Social Responsibility and Co-founder of Africa Code Week at SAP adds, “The  return of the AfriCAN Code Challenge was awaited by our incredible SAP volunteers who took part in the first line of jury. The presence of hearing-impaired students demonstrates the power of inclusivity that resides in digital literacy, in its capacity to build bridges and connect children of an entire continent, regardless of gender, age or ability.”

For more information about SAP Africa Code Week and the AfriCAN Code Challenge, visit www.africacodeweek.org

Africa Code Week’ AfriCAN Code Challenge 2021 TOP 20 is announced!

Returning for a second edition, the AfriCAN Code Challenge is a pan-African coding competition where youth aged 8 to 16 were tasked with coding a game using the Scratch programming language to show how they would change the world with their superpowers. Youth were able to enter alone or in teams of up to five people, tapping into a wide range of essential skills from problem-solving and coding all the way to teamwork and communications. Each entry had to include a three-minute YouTube video showing how the game works and why it should win.

 

In total, 40 countries participated, with over 100 project videos submitted. The top three entries from 36 countries made it into the continental final, with 20 projects making it to the final judging stage!

 

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De retour pour la deuxième édition, l'AfriCAN Code Challenge est un concours de codage pour les jeunes de 8 à 16 ans. Leur mission : programmer un jeu en utilisant le langage de programmation Scratch sur le thème : « Change le monde avec tes super pouvoirs ! » Les jeunes pouvaient participer seuls ou en équipes de cinq personnes maximums, en faisant appel à un large éventail de compétences essentielles - de la résolution de problèmes à la programmation en passant par le travail d'équipe et la communication. Chaque participation devait inclure une vidéo YouTube de trois minutes montrant le fonctionnement du jeu.

 

Au total, 40 pays ont participé, et plus de 100 vidéos de projets ont été soumises. Les trois meilleurs projets de 36 pays ont été retenus pour la finale continentale : sur ces 36 projets, 20 projets ont été retenus pour la dernière phase!

 

Here are the 20 projects that made it through to the final round / Voici les 20 projets finalistes :

 

Ivory Coast:  Mégaménage
Niger:  Rayuwa
Gabon:  Stop Déchet
Djibouti: Ecole Excellence
Madagascar: Pensons civisme
Tunisia: Le toucher du bonheur
Nigeria: The Carbon Man
The Gambia: Quiz Game
Rwanda: Master Jump Game
Uganda: Save Planet Earth Project
Ethiopia: Kids Academy
Mauritius: Super Recyclers
South Africa: Eco friendly game
Zimbabwe: Recycle it
Sudan: Saving Children
Seychelles: The Prodigies
Capo Verde : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_i1RC73Cmk 
Sao Tome & Principe: Helper intrigue
Morocco: Super Hero 
Libya: https://youtu.be/9sYZNsYEjFs

Ghana teachers embrace digital learning

Despite the dual challenges of low internet penetration and a switch to virtual teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers in Ghana have embraced the opportunity to learn 21st century digital teaching skills during this year’s Africa Code Week Train-the-Trainer campaign.

 

Ghana's population growth: a challenge and an opportunity

Ghana has a fast-growing population that more than doubled from 14.2 million people in 1989 to 28.8 million people in 2017. Nearly 39% of the population is under the age of 15, a demographic dividend that the Ghanaian government aims to harness through improved education opportunities for all its youth.

Speaking at the launch of last year’s Train-the-Trainer activities in Ghana, Minister of Education, Hon. Dr. Yaw Adutwum, said: “Coding is not just a skill. It’s a different way of teaching and a different way of learning that puts the student at the centre of the learning process.”

More than 39 000 teachers in 37 countries were mobilised during the 2019 Africa Code Week. This year, with both a virtual and a hybrid format due to the impact of the pandemic, Africa Code Week is taking place in all African countries, including a month-long series of virtual coding sessions that took place across the continent from October until December.

 

Teachers embrace digital learning opportunity

Francis Ahene-Affoh, SVP at the DreamOval Foundation, says there was a high level of interest in the Train-the-Trainer sessions this year despite the challenging conditions of the pandemic.

“We had to switch to an all-virtual teaching model supported by SAP master trainers from around the world, as well as our network of local partners. Teachersfrom all regions in Ghana registered and participatedon the virtual training. Teachers from as far as Fumbisi in the Builsa south in the Upper East region of Ghana. This is an opportunity for an inclusive training, ensuring every teachers irrespective of location benefits from the coding training. This year’s training targeted 800 teachers. In 2020 alone over two weeks, we trained 1080 teachers from across the country."

A survey conducted by the DreamOval Foundation of participating teachers revealed many would choose to continue with online learning in future. “While the majority of participants at this year’s Train-the-Trainer sessions were from the Greater Accra and Ashanti regions, this year’s virtual learning model also enabled teachers from every part of Ghana to participate,” says Ahene-Affoh. "We believe this indicates a need for virtual teaching to continue even when the pandemic subsides, as the travel to attend training sessions in person can be an obstacle to teachers' participation.”

Internet connectivity continues to be a challenge in Ghana, and few teachers have access to laptops. “Despite not having resources, more than half of teachers surveyed joined the sessions via their mobile phones. This level of commitment and passion for teaching and digital skills development is hugely encouraging as we work to prepare the country’s youth for participation in the digital economy,” says Ahene-Affoh.

 

Mobilising youth in continent-wide coding challenge

A recent addition to Africa Code Week activities is the AfriCanCode Challenge, a continent-wide coding challenge calling on youth aged 8 to 16 to compete in a competition. The competition was launched in September last year in partnership with SAP, UNESCO YouthMobile and Irish Aid.

According to Mustapha Diyaol Haqq, Africa Code Week’s 2019-2020 youth ambassador in Ghana, interest in the AfriCanCode Challenge has been high among Ghanaian youth. “Despite low levels of internet penetration in Ghana, young aspiring coders from across the country have taken up the challenge. Through teamwork, problem-solving and newly-developed coding skills, youth are putting forward their vision for what the future of education holds for the continent."

Cathy Smith, Managing Director at SAP Africa, says:

“While the pandemic has upended the lives of learners and teachers across the continent and disrupted schooling, it has also created opportunities. The growing urgency to provide learning through digital channels is driving greater interest in digital skills among learners and teachers alike. Teaching young kids to code is a gift that will endure for decades to come. If we harness our most precious resource – our abundance of youthful talent – Africa will go from strength to strength in 2021 and beyond.”

 

AfriCAN Code Challenge 2021 in Ghana

 

 

About SAP

SAP’s strategy is to help every business run as an intelligent enterprise. As a market leader in enterprise application software, we help companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best: 77% of the world’s transaction revenue touches an SAP® system. Our machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics technologies help turn customers’ businesses into intelligent enterprises. SAP helps give people and organizations deep business insight and fosters collaboration that helps them stay ahead of their competition. We simplify technology for companies so they can consume our software the way they want – without disruption. Our end-to-end suite of applications and services enables business and public customers across 25 industries globally to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and make a difference. With a global network of customers, partners, employees, and thought leaders, SAP helps the world run better and improve people’s lives. For more information, visit www.sap.com.

Africa Code Week lights spark of digital literacy in North Africa

Despite Covid-disruption, SAP Africa Code Week hosts Train-the-Trainer sessions in Libya, Mauritania with educators showing strong interest in digital literacy
Collaboration with Ministries of Education aimed at building sustainable skills development capacity

Digital literacy amidst conflict and pandemic

Two countries in the north of Africa affected by recent or ongoing conflict may be turning the corner on digital skills development for youth and teachers in 2021. Despite the challenges with internet access, lack of access to technology and ongoing conflict, interest in digital skills is high among learners and teachers alike in both Libya and Mauritania.

Dorsaf Benna Chelly, SAP Africa Code Week coordinator in North Africa, is upbeat about the interest shown by educators – including the Ministries of Education – in both countries.

“2020 was the first year that hosted Train-the-Trainer sessions in Libya and Mauritania and continues to grow in attendance and popularity. The goal is to equip teachers with skills and knowledge to support digital learning in the country, and to inspire a new generation of young Africans to build a better future using technology as an enabler. The response from educators in Libya and Mauritania shows healthy interest in digital literacy and skills development and point to a shift in how both countries are preparing their youth for the 21st century digital economy.”
 
 

Building blocks of a brighter future for Libya’s youth

Did you know?

  • Libya is in a state of civil war as rival factions seek control of the government. The World Food Programme estimates that 435 000 people have been displaced by the conflict.
  • When the pandemic emerged in early 2020, it prompted school closures across Libya, leaving 1.3 million learners suddenly out of school. The Libyan government worked with local television stations to broadcast compulsory lessons for middle and secondary school children. 
  • The Libyan Ministry of Education also partnered with UNICEF to support digital teaching platforms, provide technical supplies such as tablets and computers, and improve internet connectivity. 
  • According to World Bank data, only 22% of the population in Libya had access to the internet in 2017. 

Dr Muna Naas, Africa Code Week coordinator for Libya and member of the Libyan Ministry of Education, says:

“Work is underway by the Libyan government to meet the long-term education requirements for youth and ensure every learning is equipped to take part in the global digital economy. As the main conduits of learning, teachers play an invaluable role in preparing our youth for a bright future. This makes the positive response from local educators to our first-ever Train-the-Trainer workshops all the more encouraging.”

Last year a total of five Train-the-Trainer sessions were held in the country in September and October, with 67 teachers taking place. Twelve of the teachers were female. In 2021 this figure is set to increase during the months of October to December.

“For many of the teachers, this was their first contact with coding,” says Benna Chelly. "We have also mobilised support among teachers for the AfriCAN Code Challenge, a relatively new initiative at this year’s Africa Code Week that seeks youth aged 8 to 16 to foster a wide range of essential skills, from coding to problem-solving and teamwork, and compete in a competition to help unleash their super powers through coding creativity.”

Scaling teaching impact in Mauritania

Despite constant government investment in the education sector, Mauritania has not yet achieved universal primary school enrolment. According to the World Bank, the country’s learning outcomes remain low, partly due to teachers’ limited qualifications and skills. 

In addition, only one in five people in Mauritania have access to the internet according to 2017 data. This adds further complications to the provision of digital learning in the country. 

According to Cheikh Konaté, Member of the National Assembly of Education in Mauritania, improving the quality of education is critical to the country’s economic growth and human capital development efforts. “As the gatekeepers on knowledge and learning, teachers are invaluable in helping us prepare our youth for the future. With the support of our public and private sector partners, hundreds of teachers participated in the first-ever Train-the-Trainer workshops in our country, and gained first-hand experience with new digital learning and teaching schools.”

Benna Chelly points to the ongoing interest in ACW Train-the-Trainer sessions among educators in Mauritania.

“Across six sessions held virtually in September last year, a total of 214 teachers participated, gaining first-hand knowledge of basic coding and digital literacy skills which they can take back to their classrooms to empower local youth."

More than 39 000 teachers in 37 countries were mobilised during the 2019 Africa Code Week. This year, with an all-virtual format due to the impact of the pandemic, Africa Code Week is taking place across all African countries, with a month-long series of virtual coding sessions taking place across the continent during October to December.

Hicham Iraqi Houssaini, Managing Director of SAP Francophone Africa concludes:

“While the pandemic has upended the lives of learners and teachers across the continent and disrupted schooling, it has also created opportunities. The growing urgency to provide learning through digital channels is driving greater interest in digital skills among learners and teachers alike. Teaching young kids to code is a gift that will endure for decades to come. If we harness our most precious resource – our abundance of youthful talent – Africa will go from strength to strength in 2021 and beyond.”

For more information about Africa Code Week, please visit www.africacodeweek.org

 

 

About Africa Code Week

Since 2015, SAP Africa Code Week (ACW) has been creating free opportunities for young Africans to learn coding skills and for teachers to be trained on digital learning curricula. Strong partnerships with the public, private and civil society sectors across 54 countries are driving sustainable impact by building teaching capacity and supporting the adoption of coding into national curricula in support of UN Sustainable Development Goals 4, 5 and 17. Join SAP and partners by visiting www.africacodeweek.org to find out more.

About SAP

SAP’s strategy is to help every business run as an intelligent enterprise. As a market leader in enterprise application software, we help companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best: 77% of the world’s transaction revenue touches an SAP® system. Our machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics technologies help turn customers’ businesses into intelligent enterprises. SAP helps give people and organizations deep business insight and fosters collaboration that helps them stay ahead of their competition. We simplify technology for companies so they can consume our software the way they want – without disruption. Our end-to-end suite of applications and services enables business and public customers across 25 industries globally to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and make a difference. With a global network of customers, partners, employees, and thought leaders, SAP helps the world run better and improve people’s lives. For more information, visit www.sap.com.

AfriCAN Code Challenge: DreamOval Foundation Honours Deserving Pupils

The DreamOval Foundation in partnership with SAP, UNESCO YouthMobile, and Irish Aid, organized an inspiring award ceremony last week for Ghanaian students who have played an active part in this year’s Africa Code Week (ACW) AfriCAN Code Challenge competition.

The event was a joyful ceremony involving school authorities, Metropolitan assembly officials, chiefs, and parents from the winning school to showcase the hard work and efforts of local youth in line with the Government's agenda towards improving 21st century learning. Prizes included laptops, tablets, mobile handsets, and book vouchers and were handed to country winners from Nii Boye Town SDA Basic School, Martyrs of Uganda and Accra, and Sweet Code. 

Ghanean students rise above Covid challenges

Speaking about the awards ceremony, Francis Ahene-Affoh from DreamOval adds, “Despite the global pandemic and today’s disruptions to learning, Ghana received both innovative and creative competition entries. We selected the best three to represent our country for the continental challenge and look forward to seeing our local talent showcased with Africa’s top students.” 

The AfriCAN Code Challenge is an exciting pan-African competition that invites youth aged 8-16 years to program a Scratch game aligned to the 'Change the world with your Superpowers' theme. Participants are invited to compete individually or in teams of up to five people to test students’ ability to write basic code using the scratch language and to show their level of competence in a 2min video which is reviewed by a panel of judges. 

Speaking at the event, Chief of Nii Boye Town, Nii Ayi Mensah 1, acknowledged the students and their hard work and the importance of key influencers and local ambassadors in fostering digital education in the community. He also highlighted the importance of digital learning and education while referencing the students from SDA who were shining examples with their winning creations in the AfriCAN Code Challenge. 

Francis from DreamOval echoed Nii Ayi Mensah 1’s words at the event by celebrating the students’ tenacity and dedication, but also encouraged them to take digital learning and coding seriously as a ‘transformative journey’ that will change their lives and make them competitive in the global economy. 

 

AfriCAN Code Challenge 2021 Ghana Africa Code Week

 

Ghana helps conquer Africa’s digital divide  

During 2021 alone, more than 621 teachers have been trained in Ghana during Africa Code Week’s Train-the-Trainer (TTT) sessions during the month of August thanks to the implementing partner, DreamOval Foundation. 

Due to COVID-19 and to support health and safety regulations, the training was scheduled online and created an opportunity for teachers to register from all corners of the country. “Ghana has recorded impressive results over the years during the TTT sessions, and this year was no exception,” concludes Francis Ahene-Affoh. 

To find out more information about Ghana’s continued support in Africa Code Week or to get involved, contact the DreamOval Foundation or send an email to Francis. 

 

Young Ghanaian Innovator Shows Africa’s Future Lies in its Talented Youth

Self-taught coder develops model for diagnosing breast cancer; looks to solve some of the continent’s biggest challenges and inspires youth across the continent as Africa Code Week Youth Ambassador for 2019.

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — July 1, 2019 — “It takes a village to raise a child”: as the Fourth Industrial Revolution sweeps across Africa and more of its youth develop coding and other digital skills, there may come a time to update this old saying to: “It takes one child to raise the prospects of a village.” And based on the quest of one young man from a village in Ghana to solve some of the major problems faced by his community, this saying could become commonplace as more young innovators enter the fray.

   

Inspired by global technology success stories, Mustapha Diyaol Haqq, a 19-year-old from Kumasi in Southern Ghana, realised he too could deliver innovation where it was most needed, starting with his very home town. “Seeing how the big tech companies used innovation to solve some of the world’s biggest problems made me realise how important it is to learn to code,” says Haqq. “I looked online for any free courses that could help me develop coding skills and completed as many as I could.”

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